How to Control Pet Allergies

The girl is allergic to cat

Eliminating the Problem Isn’t the Only Solution

It doesn’t take long to fall in love with your new furry friend. It takes even less time to develop allergy symptoms. Sneezing, itchy eyes, and a runny nose can make the decision to add a new pet to your family seem like the wrong choice.

About 10 percent of the population is allergic to animals. If you discover you or a loved one has pet allergies, the most obvious fix is to remove the pet from your home. However, many allergists and pet owners consider this a non-solution.

Pet allergens are everywhere. They are not just in your home and car, but are also in the park, other homes, public transportation, animal-friendly restaurants, shops and other public places. For this reason, many pet owners who are allergic to pet dander choose to minimize the symptoms, rather than avoid the problem.

11 Tips to Reduce Pet Dander

Before making the decision to eliminate your pet from your life, try the preventative measures below to reduce the amount of pet dander in your home.

  1. Designate one area as pet-free (the bedroom is a feasible option).
  2. Use an air purifier to reduce the allergens in the air.
  3. Wash your bedding in hot water at least once every two weeks.
  4. Bathe your pet often in an outside area.
  5. Invest in grooming services on a regular basis.
  6. Wear a mask during home cleaning, when allergens are airborne.
  7. Keep pets off the furniture, or purchase leather since it is easier to clean.
  8. Comb your pet regularly in an outside area rather than indoors.
  9. Store toys, beds and crates in the garage or porch area.
  10. Invest in allergen-free bed sheets and covers.
  11. Change AC unit air filters regularly.

Prevention is the best medicine. If your allergy symptoms persist after taking the necessary preventative measures, talk to your allergist about allergy shots or other medications that can minimize your runny nose, sneezing, itchy eyes and other allergy symptoms.

An alternative solution is to opt for a breed that sheds less and is, therefore, less likely to trigger symptoms on a regular basis. The last go-to solution is to find your pet another safe home.

Choosing an Allergen-Free Pet

Some types of pets are known to trigger less severe symptoms in people with animal allergies. Even if the treatment of symptoms is less with certain types of pets, it is important to note that the allergens still exist. The only way to prevent pet dander is to not have a pet in the home.

Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers, Maltese breeds, Irish Water Spaniels, and Bedlington Terriers are known to shed less, and can therefore be less bothersome for those who are allergic to animals. Cat lovers can try hairless cats.

Your pet is a beloved member of the family and there are alternatives to giving up your furry friend. While your health remains the most important factor in life, attempt alternative solutions to keep your pet in your happy home before making any rash decisions.

Additional Resources





  • Pet First Aid, by American Red Cross, available on iTunes for free
Print Friendly, PDF & Email